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The Commerce Blog

Who Are You? Mobile ID Devices Find Out Using NIST Guidelines

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A new publication that recommends best practices for the next generation of portable biometric acquisition devices—Mobile ID—has been published by Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Devices that gather, process and transmit an individual’s biometric data—fingerprints, facial and iris images—for identification are proliferating. Previous work on standards for these biometric devices has focused primarily on getting different stationary and desktop systems with hard-wired processing pathways to work together in an interoperable manner. But a new generation of small, portable and versatile biometric devices are raising new issues for interoperability. (More)

Earvin "Magic" Johnson to Keynote MBDA's Annual MED Week Conference

Earvin “Magic” Johnson will keynote the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference in Washington, August 26-28. Also participating as speakers will be U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, new MBDA National Director David Hinson, and Small Business Administration Administrator Karen G. Mills. The conference will focus on fostering innovation, competitiveness and opportunities for minority businesses to retool and rebuild America’s infrastructure under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. (More) (Registration)

Locke Addresses U.S.-UAE Business Council, Highlights Promising Economic Opportunities

Locke behind lectern with flags behind him.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the US-UAE Business Council about the bilateral economic and security relationship that has continued to develop between the emirates and the United Sates. Secretary Locke addressed the promising business opportunities available to U.S. firms resulting from a proposed civilian nuclear arrangement. He also explained how the proposed agreement might serve as a model for civilian nuclear cooperation between the U.S. and other Middle Eastern nations. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Announces $40 Million in ARRA Projects to Support Efficient Marine Navigation and Create Jobs

Captain Barnum and Secretary Locke on pier. Click for larger image.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke announced in Norfolk, Va. $40 million for critical hydrographic survey and chart projects across the United States that strengthen the economy, create jobs, and support safe and efficient marine commerce and trade. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will allocate $32 million to utilize hydrographic surveying contractors to collect data in critical coastal areas which are used to map the seafloor and update nautical charts. (More) (Remarks)

Secretaries Locke, Napolitano and Sebelius Announce Flu Season Guidance for Business and Employers

Cabinet secretaries on stage anouncing guidelines. Click for video of press conference.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius held a joint news conference to announce new federal guidelines to help employers and businesses prepare for and respond to the upcoming flu season. The event is part of the federal government’s continuing efforts to prepare Americans for an influenza season that will include the H1N1 flu. Rear Admiral Stephen Redd from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Labor Deputy Secretary Seth Harris will also be on hand to answer questions. (More on Guidance) (Press Conference Video)

Under Secretary Blank Statement on July 2009 Residential Construction Numbers

Portrait of Under Secretary Blank.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of the Census released data on new residential construction in July. Starts for single-family homes increased 1.7 percent, while overall permits to build privately-owned housing units declined 1.8 percent and housing starts decreased 1.0 percent. Despite the overall decrease, total permits have risen 12.4 percent from their low in April, after plummeting a total of 78.0 percent between September 2005 and April 2009. Additionally, total starts have increased 21.3 percent, after falling 78.9 percent from their peak in January 2006 to their low in April 2009. (More) (July Residential Construction Release)

Secretary Locke Announces $7.6 Million in Recovery Act Grants to Create Jobs, Boost Development in Four States

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced $7.6 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants to help four states boost private investment and create new jobs. The grants will: establish a bio-medical manufacturing and business park in Illinois; develop an industrial area in Florida; provide rail service to a technology park in South Carolina and expand an industrial park to accommodate new and existing industry in Michigan.

Back to School 2009-2010 Stats from Census

Image of District of Columbia yellow school bus.

File Photo

Summertime winding down and summer vacations coming to an end signal that back-to-school time is near. It’s a time that many children eagerly anticipate—catching up with old friends, making new ones and settling into a new daily routine. Parents and children alike scan the newspapers and Web sites looking for sales to shop for a multitude of school supplies and the latest clothing fads and essentials. This edition of Facts for Featureshighlights the many statistics associated with the return to classrooms by our nation’s students and teachers. There are an estimated 480,000 school buses in the U.S. (More)

NOAA: Warmest Global Ocean Surface Temperatures on Record for July

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The planet’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for July, breaking the previous high mark established in 1998, according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for July 2009 ranked fifth-warmest since world-wide records began in 1880. The July ocean surface temperature departure of 1.06 degrees F from the long-term average equals last month’s value, which was also a record. (More) (National Climatic Data Center) (June Analysis)

Secretary Locke Conducts Swearing In Ceremony for USPTO Director David Kappos

Locke, Kimball and Kappos with hand on Bible, taking oath of office. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke conducted a ceremonial swearing in ceremony for Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), David Kappos. In remarks before thousands of employees on the USPTO campus, Locke said, “David is taking on a big job. . . . Promoting and protecting U.S. inventions, innovation and creativity directly affects our nation’s welfare and prosperity.” Under Secretary Kappos added, “I look forward to. . . working with you to advance [the USPTO’s] mission on behalf of the American people.” (Secretary’s Remarks) (Under Secretary Kappos’s Remarks) (USPTO)